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tv   Face the Nation  CBS  September 15, 2014 2:00am-2:31am PDT

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now to "face the nation." we are very excited today to welcome film and dock you men terry film maker ken burns to "face the nation." his new series is "the roosevelts: an intimate history." it airs tonight and every night this week on pbs starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern. also joining us this morning geoff ward who wrote "the roosevelts" and doris kearns goodwin. you'll hear her many times throughout this series. ken, i'm going to start out by just making a flat statement. this is your best work yet. >> i'm also told that you are in some way related to the roosevelts, does that have anything to do with you -- >> no, we've been talking about doing the roosevelts for as long
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as i've known geof or franklin or we decided to put them all three together which had never been done before. in the midst half way through new england historic genealogical society gave me an award present me with this book told me that, franklin and theodore and eleanor they are fifth cousins. i am 7th cuss towns theodore and eleanor once removed and eighth cousin once removed to franklin. i may than is the point which we do full disclosure. >> what is also true i got that same award, i thought of myself as irish catholic i'm related to sarah roosevelt. >> we were working on film on vietnam i ex him to be related to ho i didn't hi min. >> schieffer: this is story about three unique people in
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every sense of the word. this is not just about teddy roosevelt and franklin d. roosevelt but also about eleanor roosevelt. who is a figure as remarkable in history as perhaps her husband. let's just talk about the similarities between teddy and franklin and connection there. let's just run this clip. >> they belonged to different parties. they over came different obstacles. they had different temperments and styles of leadership. but it was the similarities and not the differences between the two that meant the most to history. both were children of privilege who came to see themselves as champions of the working man. and earned the undying emnity of many of those who had grown to manhood they shared a sense of stewardship of the american land. and unfamed love for people and
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politics. and firm belief that the united states had an important role to play in the wider world. >> schieffer: doris, the thing that struck me over and over again, we find the same thing with eleanor roosevelt. these were rich people. these were rich boys and she, of course, she was came from family of means. but what was it that caused these three people to be able to become the leaders that they were? >> you know, some times i think it's inside a person that there are certain instinct for liking people and caring about people, maybe innate empathy but all three were tested by adversity having been children of privilege put them in a different path. teddy roosevelt had terrible asthma as a child he had to work himself up to that many man. hard work that connected him to other people for whom hard work was daily work. when his wife and daughter died on the same day in the same
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house, his wife and mother rather, he went to the bad lands in depression, wes cowboys, lot of other people that are rich person normally wouldn't. with fdr after polio transformed him, made him clearly more related to other people for whom fate an unkind hand. where with a whole bunch of other people, also in the state senate there were irish guys, first they looked down on them, i have to get along with them. eleanor, do, adversity. of having that mother who called her granny and father who was alcoholic. yet she finds herself in madam sylvester's home and boarding house wants to couple back serve other people. they got their sense of full i willment it was way removed from just elite world. >> let's just play this clip here about eleanor. >> the living link between them was theodore roosevelt's best loved muse and franklin's wife, eleanor.
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she had learned to face fear and master it long before her husband declared that the only thing americans had to fear was fear itself. her own character and energy and devotion to principles would make her the most consequential first lady and one of the most consequential women in american history. >> schieffer: one of the most consequential women in american history, you convinced me as i watched this documentary. i had not really appreciated what a unique person she was and contribution that she made. >> she's an absolutely astonishing person. i really think i say in the film, i still say, she is miracle of the human spirit. given the parched emotional desert of her childhood to come out of that and difficulties with her husband and all the other things she dealt with, she became this extraordinary figure
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who took on every cause imaginable and never stopped. she just absolutely relentless, just the way her uncle theodore was. >> schieffer: not only take on these causes she was effective in causing change. >> that's exactly right. we did a film on national parks, stuart uudall said theodore roosevelt had distance in their eyes, i think all three did, i could understood what the coming issues are you think about eleanor roosevelt she's right on all of these things. about race, about poverty, women, about children. about labor, about immigration, health, all of these things that are going to be the agenda of today she is already actively engaged in this not in some sort of phony political make an appearance, but going down in to the mines then come back telling her husband what he needs to do. it's really a remarkable achievement. >> schieffer: while she was
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writing five or six newspaper columns a week. >> unbelievable. holding press conferences every week, only women reporters would come to her press conferences, suddenly entire generation of fee nail journalists get their start because of eleanor, writing autobiography, sending memos to franklin that he has to say, only three memos a night, i can only read -- talking to general marshal about discrimination in the armed forces he has to assign separate general to deal with eleanor. she was thage take for, the she had him pragmatic political figure that's why they work so together as team. >> schieffer: we talked about adversity that was overcome by both teddy and franklin. she was betrayed by her husband and she had to live through that. >> not only did she live through it she came out more resilient than ever before. she found that she could go outside the home to find her sense of fulfillment. an independent path she had role range of talents for organizing, for speaking, articulating her
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cause. in some ways if that hadn't happened she stayed within family circle maybe she couldn't have, maybe that vibrancy was in her. i hope she would have broken through. thank god for country and for franklin, too. it made her the partner that without her he would never have been the president he was. >> all of these bad things that happened, these crucibles of adversity that doris listed all become the agencies of their transformation they are able to escape the specific gravity of these tragedies whether it's asthma and the death and suffering of theodore roosevelt ip his early life or herbie trail by franklin and her early life with franklin's oleo they transform this in to something that serves their careers much better and themselves but also more importantly the rest of us. we all do well when we all do well. which is the very simple distilled philosophy of all three of these people. that is the great legacy.
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we struggle to define leadership today as we figure out what is the working formula, what they had was just that thing. it wasn't addition of their money, it was the addition of their times and their lives and their sacred honor to this process. that's we are the beneficiaries. >> schieffer: you yourself were a victim of polio you had polio when you were nine years old. could franklin roosevelt have been the leader he was had he not had polio? >> it's a great question. i don't think we have been that leader. i think it taught him a kind of of -- increased his empathy. i think it also taught him patience. if you can't walk you need -- you have to wait for things. he learned that. >> schieffer: he never gave up. one of the things that i learned in this, he had polio, there was no cure, he was going to be crippled for want of a better word. and yet you came away feeling
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that he thought that one of these days if i just keep at it i'll find a way to walk again. >> yes, he did. one of the things i'm proudest of in this show and i thank ken, because nobody's ever been able to give the whole story of that time. you see in this show how he was crippled and the various ways he tried to deal with it and how it affected the rest of his life. and that is usually skimmed over in film. >> schieffer: let's look at this next clip here. >> it produces terror, unreasoning terror, you just can't believe that the legs that you depended on simply don't work. and i don't know how to convey to people that suddenly key not go to the bathroom. he couldn't go for the
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telephone. he couldn't do anything on his own and the limbs that -- he was a great dancer. he was a great golfer. he loved to run. none of that would ever happen again. he dreamed about it all his life but he never could do it. >> schieffer: many people did not understand that he really couldn't walk. he had developed this way to throw his body with his braces locked in to place but had to have someone on either side of him. could he have kept that from the public today, doris, obviously not. >> probably not. hopefully the public today would be much more understanding and glad to have somebody who had overcome this kind of problem and become so strong. but he made decision at that time that the country probably wouldn't feel comfortable with a man who couldn't walk. but he dreamed about it all the time. he had this way of going to sleep at night where he would imagine himself a young boy once
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more on the hills at hyde park taking his thread down the hill. when he got to the bottom bringing it up again like somebody counts sheep. in that dream he's running, he's walking, he's sliding, then he can finally to go sleep because he dreams it. i think once you decide that you're going to use your talents in a different way, that he became the most active wheelchair man could you possibly imagine. every other part of his body is so vitally alive. >> schieffer: here we have one clip here that just what we're talking about here, let's take a look at this. >> he labored at mastering what his physiotherapists called, a two-point walk. the slow rocking gait we em ploy in public for the rest of his life. >> he really wasn't walking, jeff. he was just -- back and for. >> that's right. i guess i differ with doris a little. i think if he were running now,
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sadly, i think tv crew works would compete to see who could get the footage that showed him at his most helpless. he had to be carried in and out of buildings. had to be helped to move his braces so on. and i think fox news would have loved that. >> you know to illustrate your point, sadly, in 1936 when he was coming down the aisle to give acceptance speech he went over to shake somebody's hand he did fall. and his braces unlocked his speech fell around him. there was honor code of the press not to show him that way. he goes up gives the speech, that's all you hear. today you are probably right. yeah, look what we have. >> schieffer: we think because -- we to know more but we learned less this is man who had 998 press conferences, those reporters and people around him saw this stuff, saw the huge effort but also had intimate access to him as the chief executive. so i think we still think that really good that we know everything. it may not be really good that
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we know everything and because we know everything there is now a moat around the presidency and our great leaders that then removes us from the possibility of truly knowing him. he had hack says, he fancied himself a newspaper man and knew them by name. and i think they not only saw the arduousness and sacrifice didn't write about it but had much clearer idea of all the other things that were going on. in a way that we don't now. we are still talking about the bubble, how much the person gets isolated in the bubble and that we are unaware of what is really going on inside these complicated interiors that we call our leaders. >> indeed both theodore and franklin had such close relationships to the press than anyone could do receive of today. theodore roosevelt doing the barber, the shave, lunch, fdr had two press conferences a week, that's what kept them in close contact with sentiment of the people which is so critical in democracy which i feel our
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presidents are not today. >> schieffer: also, this is where they were -- as you say this is where they were getting their information. both teddy roosevelt and franklin had this innate ability to know where the country was. how much it could take. how much it could swallow. >> how fast it could move. >> when he said about empathy that franklin was able to assume with the polio, i think all of them had a version of empathy. whatever happened theodore's father's troublesome conscience, inherits an empathy for other people the suffering and sacrifice, the need on part of theodore and eleanor to spend their lives in perpetual motion, out running the demons they think might over take them also places them in to the light among the irish halls of albany. in the west, with the cowboys. that empathy is the essential
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missing ingredient or secret sauce of leadership. it's not just remove and idealism from the hill, but really down with the people. and these are all people speaking with accents. not people putting on the phony airs where they adopt the southern accent of the crowd that they're in. these are people who are resolutely themselves and they ought to be commended for remaining resolutely -- >> schieffer: people know when -- >> people know when i use local saying it always comes out right. we'll take a break here. we'll come back need to talk more about teddy roosevelt. in the world, entes are the largest targets in the world, for every hacker, crook and nuisance in the world. but systems policed by hp's cyber security team are constantly monitored for threats. outside and in.
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way like john mccain when he was on that bus he never stopped talking and eating all those sugar donuts and drinking all that coffee. there were a lot of those same attributes in teddy roosevelt. >> newleywed by cup after cup of coffee served to him in the special mug that his elder son said was bigger than a bathtub. theodore roosevelt raced through his day. letters were answered upon receipt. lifetime total of 150,000, dictated to shifts of weary stenographers. we not stop talking. he was a one-man gas bag. but it was so interesting that most people didn't mind. >> we love him because of the energy. his laugh was infectious. his son ted said my father had dozen eggs for breakfast every morning so he's large man, he's larger than life. >> schieffer: well he
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certainly was that. >> i loved every minute of living with him these last seven years, the vitality, i'd wake up in the morning, i got to get going because teddy roosevelt is going. everything he did, getting on the trains, on the whistle-stop trains going around the country, waving to everybody. stopping at ever station, getting gifts in from the people, lizards, snakes, horned toads, one time there was group that didn't wave back he was so disappointed because he was used to that, it was a herd of cows, as nearsighted as he was. he never stopped. once said he was extraordinary man, with ordinary perseverance. with a gift for leadership. he's one of the most interesting, colorful characters i've ever -- i'm not sure i want to be married with him. >> you want to go out to the bar have a drink with him. travel across the country with him. all of this has to be understood with a little bit of clear eyes that it comes from essential
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instability of character. he is a depressive. he's subject to those kind of compressions he felt as he said, can rarely sit behind a rider whose pace is fast enough that means 21st century parlance out run your demons he's spending all of his time, all of his life at high speed. if you think about oldest picture you can imagine of theodore roosevelt he looks 85. he died at age 60. i'm 61. you realize what was spent in the course of this and sort of belligerent love, the idea that war is sort of a good thing and it helps to clean the soul of a country. after george wilson says in the film after 20th century became what it became you have to look at him with clear eyes. >> schieffer: what are the lessons that today's leaders in the congress, in the white house, in america, what are the lessons that they can draw from
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this, geoff? >> i just think they should look at people who are real leaders of all three of them are the real authentic thing. they had an idea, they were going to go there they were perfectly willing to engage in serious politics with people who didn't necessarily agree with them. and get there. >> schieffer: henry kissinger was on this broadcast last sunday, in his new book he says, leaders must be willing to go places not certain that they're going to succeed. if they think their cause is right. certainly these three people. >> i think looking ahead at the presidential election coming up in some years, that's what we should be looking to for ip our leaders what kind of attributes do they have. what kind of strengths. do they sour round themselves with people who can question them how have they gotten through adversity.
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do have certain kind of emotional intelligence that distance. this is what we should be looking for instead who have does well in debate, who zings somebody in an ad. our whole presidential system by looking at these people, they were leaders. if we could find some of these qualities in the characters that are going to put before us in these next years would be far better off investigating them that way than the way we do. >> i agree. infantile fantasy of film makers to think that film might do something. as you look at the example of these three extraordinary leaders, who had great adversity in their time, willingness to compromise, willingness to work and roll up their sleeves this is what is not happening now. sort of self fulfilling right now. i think these people might be inspiration of how you can get it done because we're not getting anything done. you have to get things done, that's the stuff of democracy. nobody is going to get the whole loaf it's the half loaf. all of these people understood
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in their guts was realizing, franklin roosevelt wasn't going to get everybody he wanted on social security. neither theodore or franklin roosevelt got health care that they wanted. it took -- took century to get health care. >> schieffer: what strikes me as i sit here listening to you talking about this, what is not in this 14 hours. i don't recall that you had anything about any of these people and their ability to raise money. which seems to be all this our politicians -- >> these are rich people yet you do not see the application of that wealth in the political process. it permits them time and luxury to pursue it but you're absolutely correct, bob there. is not a whiff of money here in terms of what are the ingredients of leadership. i think that if we had the opportunity just to remove the
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money question, the thumb on this scale, we would be in so much better shape and we'd probably get a lot more done. >> schieffer: thank you all so much. we'll be right back.
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>> schieffer: that's it for us today. we want to thank you for watching "face the nation." be sure to tune in to cbs this morning when kentucky republican senator rand paul will be a guest. we'll see you next week. n road? a card that gave you that "i'm 16 and just got my first car" feeling. presenting the buypower card from capital one. redeem earnings toward part or even all of a new chevrolet, buick, gmc or cadillac - with no limits. so every time you use it, you're not just shopping for goods. you're shopping for something great. learn more at when folks think about wthey think salmon and energy. but the energy bp produces up here creates something else as well: jobs all over america. engineering and innovation jobs. advanced safety systems & technology.
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